U.S. M1 Carbine
in
Austria

The M1 Carbines


The M1 carbines in Austria were handled at a national level by each of the agencies they served with. The agencies inventoried, marked, used, stored, etc. their M1 carbines different and separate from the others.

The Bundesheer

The M1 carbines used by the Austrian army, the Bundesheer, were not marked in any manner. They are not identifiable from any other U.S. M1 carbine. The only clue may be an import mark from INTRAC, if it was brought into the U.S.A. by them. These may not have been the only M1 carbines imported by INTRAC.

The Bundespolizei

The M1 carbines used by the Austrian federal police were not marked in any manner. They are not identifiable from any other U.S. M1 carbine. The Bundespolizei maintained their own central nationwide weapons workshop in the Rossauer barracks in Vienna.

The only clue that an M1 carbine may have been used by the Bundesheer may be an import mark from INTRAC, if it was brought into the U.S.A. by them. These may not have been the only M1 carbines imported by INTRAC.

The Gendarmerie

The only M1 carbines known to have been marked by the Austrians are those that were issued to the Gendarmerie. The overwhelming majority of the M1 carbines were assigned to the Gendarmerie in the lands (province) where they had the largest contingent of forces, which was Lower Austria. The Gendarmerie in the other lands were assigned different weapons. However, several M1 carbines have been found that served in several other lands (provinces). These are much more rare than those that served in Lower Austria.

All markings were placed on the M1 carbines after Austria's declaration of independence and the departure of the occupation troops, who left in mid 1955. Likely these M1 carbines were used by the Austrians 1952-1955, but no markings were placed on them prior to independence. In the case of Lower Austria and Burgenland, both were controlled by the Russians until mid 1955, so no M1 carbines were used there until after the Russians left.

The gendarmerie maintained one workshop nationwide for all of the gendarmerie weapons, located in the Meidling district of Vienna. All of the gendarmerie carbine markings, modifications, and maintenance were done within this facility.

Gendarmerie markings were uniform nationwide, as were where they placed the markings on the M1 carbines. As previously discussed, the M1 carbines that served with the Austrian Gendarmerie had the last 4 digits of the receiver serial number stamped on the underside of the handguard, inside the stock's sling well, along the slide rail, in the T on the back of the trigger housing, and electro-penciled into the top of the bolt.

The marks identifying these M1 carbines as having been used by the Austrian Gendarmerie are located on the outside bottom of the trigger housing, between the trigger guard and magazine catch. These marks were the initials of the Gendarmerie in the lands (provinces) they served, with a 4 digit number below the letters. The number was an inventory number assigned by the central gendarmerie weapons facility. These 4 numbers were assigned to only one carbine, nationwide. The letters above the numbers were not part of the inventory system. Only the 4 numbers.

The first 3 letters, LGK, are the same with each land and mean "Gendarmerie Command for the Land of", followed by one or two letters identifying which land (province).

Lower Austria

Most of the U.S. M1 carbines that served with the Austrian Gendarmerie were with the Gendarmerie in Lower Austria. This area was previously part of the Russian Occupation Zone, so the carbines there were issued after Austrian independence in mid 1955.

LGKNÖ

Landes Gendarmerie Kommando NiederÖsterreich

Burgenland

LGK.B.

Landes Gendarmerie Kommando Burgenland

Salzburg

LGK Sb

Landes Gendarmerie Kommando Salzburg

The Other Lands of Austria

Until the discovery of M1 carbines with the markings of Burgenland and Salzburg, it was previously believed M1 carbines had not served in lands other than Lower Austria. Over time M1 carbines may or may not be found with the markings of the other lands. The M1 carbines were not common amongst the gendarmerie outside of Lower Austria.

KärntenCarinthia
SteiermarkSteier
OberoÖsterreichUpper Austria
TyrolTirol
VorarlbergVorarlberg


M1 Carbine configurations in Austria

When the Austrians received their M1 carbines they also received an unknown quantity of replacement parts, the same parts and manufacturers as used on carbines rebuilt in America.

Of the M1 carbines that can be identified as having served in Austria, many have the part configuration consistent with the carbines manufactured late in the war. But not all of the carbines and not always every part. A commonly found configuration includes the following, but this should not be assumed to be the "norm".

Barrel bandType 3bayonet lug
Rear sightType 3adjustable for windage and elevation
Trigger housingType 3copper color
HammerType 3
SafetyType 4rotary safety
Magazine catchType 4adds ability to use 30 round magazines


M1 Carbines from Germany to Austria

In the mid to late 1970's Austria purchased 2000 M1 carbines from an American importer who had purchased many of the M1 carbines Germany sold. Germany phased out their M1 carbines from 1958 and into the 1960's, replacing them with NATO compatible weapons.

The condition of these particular M1 carbines, relative to their German markings, gives the appearance they were handpicked from the larger number of M1 carbines that served with Germany. So far, all of these have been from Bavaria and none of them have had their original American or Bavarian markings altered in any way, as opposed to what has been found on some of the other M1 carbines from Germany.

Austria did not change any of the markings the German agencies had placed on these carbines. Austria added their markings as noted above. Some of the M1 carbines from Germany had the last 3 digits of the receiver serial number on the various parts of the weapon. In these cases the Austrians added the last four digits of the receiver serial number to the parts that did not have all 4 digits. Therefore, on some parts it is not unusual to find the last 3 digits in addition to the last 4 digits near one another on the same part.

At the time the Austrians acquired these additional M1 carbines they had placed many of their M1 carbines within their police or gendarmerie stations, to be accessed only if needed. The appeaarance and condition of the U.S. M1 carbines that went from Germany to Austria and have the markings of both countries, tends to be consistently excellent.

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